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China's Rise in American Military Strategy

China's Rise in American Military Strategy

Conference Paper, Preventive Defense Project, Belfer Center

October 16, 2006

Authors: Ashton B. Carter, Former Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project, Harvard & Stanford Universities, Dr. William J. Perry, Former Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Preventive Defense Project


Neither side can say where destiny will carry the U.S.-China relationship in the decades ahead.  China’s future “intentions” are not a secret they keep from us, but a mystery that only the future will reveal.  In that circumstance, the U.S. has no choice but to have a two-pronged strategy towards China: one prong of engagement to encourage China to be a “responsible stakeholder” and another prong of hedging against the prospect of a downturn in relations.
But how to hedge responsibly?  How much should the Pentagon spend on a hypothesized threat from China?  And how can hedging be done prudently, without creating a self-fulfilling prophesy where treating China as an enemy contributes to making them an enemy?

Please see the pdf below for the full text of this document:


For Academic Citation:

Carter, Ashton B. and William J. Perry. "China's Rise in American Military Strategy." October 16, 2006.

Document Length: 12 pp.

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Preventive Defense Project

The Preventive Defense Project (PDP) is a Harvard-Stanford research collaboration, co-directed by Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry.

Ashton B. Carter

In February 2015, Ashton B. Carter became Secretary of Defense for the United States.

Dr. Carter is former director of the Belfer Center's Preventive Defense Project and former director of what is now the Belfer Center. He is on leave.


Ashton Carter's bio >

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